20 Unusual Facts About Relationships

How much do you really know about love? Read on to learn what scientists, psychologists, authors and the latest studies have to say about the way we form romantic relationships.

By Laura Schaefer

elationships are endlessly quirky and fascinating, because they’re full of twists, turns and wacky traditions. It’s fun to think about how everything from the seasons to our brain chemistry affects our love lives. Did you ever wonder if your love habits and history fall in with mainstream America? Read on for some truly unusual and funny facts about the wily beast that we call love and romantic relationships…

Fact #1: According to a Facebook study conducted by TED talker and data journalist David McCandless, spikes in breakups happen in spring and
The lowest amount of breakups happens between the end of July and beginning of October.
right before the holidays. The lowest amount of breakups happens between the end of July and beginning of October.

Fact #2: Paul Davis, author of Breakthrough for a Broken Heart, says that on average, 12 to 14 dates occur before couples trade house keys.

Fact #3: According to a meta-analysis study conducted by Syracuse University professor Stephanie Ortigue, falling in love can bring about the same euphoric feeling as using cocaine, and it only takes about a fifth of a second. When a person falls in love, 12 different areas of the brain work together to release chemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline and vasopressin into that individual’s body. The feeling of love also affects cognitive functions, such as mental representation, metaphors and body image. Passionate love is sparked by the reward part of the brain.

Fact #4: Per the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker’s 2013 consumer report, six million couples got engaged on Feb. 14, 2013 — up from four million couples in 2012.

Fact #5: “Many of us have a conscious list of what we want in a partner, but we also have an unconscious one that fulfills a part of us that we have not yet developed. Often times, this has to do with feelings that are familiar and partners that are similar to one of our parents in some way,” says licensed psychologist Rachel Needle, Psy.D.

Fact #6: Author Myrna Lou Goldbaum says that 10% of marriage proposals are made by women.

Fact #7: According to author Amber Madison, 95% of men say that they want to get married someday.

Fact #8: “Psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania studied data from over 10,000 speed daters and found that most people make a decision regarding a person’s attraction within the first three seconds of meeting,” says licensed psychologist Rachel Needle, Psy.D.

Fact #9: In an article published by The Washington Post, pediatrician and author Howard Bennett says that the butterflies you feel in your stomach when you encounter the person you love or lust after is the body’s stress response, and it’s caused by the release of adrenalin.

Fact #10: According to the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker’s 2013 consumer report, 30% of women in relationships believe that Valentine’s Day is overrated.

Fact #11: The American Community Survey states that as of 2011, 19.5% of people have ever been married twice, while 5% have married three or more times. By comparison, 75.3% of people who have ever been married have made only one trip down the aisle.

Fact #12: In Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott’s new book, The Good Fight: How Conflict Can Bring You Closer, the married co-authors assert that all couples fight over the same five things: money, sex, work, parenting and housework. Most argue about these five issues over and over again, mainly because they are so-called “hot buttons” — i.e., stressors that speak to our sense of love and fairness.

Fact #13: “Couples have worn wedding bands on the fourth finger of their left hands since the Ancient Egyptians began doing so over 5,000 years ago,” says Carol Bruess, author of What Happy Couples Do. “They believed there was a vein in this finger that went directly to the heart.”

Fact #14: According to author Myrna Lou Goldbaum, 81% of married couples make it past the first five years, 53% last for 15 years, and 6%
Passionate love is sparked by the reward part of the brain.
stay together for over 50 years.

Fact #15: “Trust in personal relationships comes in two forms: 1) reflective trust, which is the form that operates at the level of your conscious awareness; and 2) impulsive trust, which is an unconscious form of trust.”
– SUNY Buffalo psychologist Sandra Murray and her colleagues as quoted by Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. in Psychology Today, 2011

Fact #16: A column written by Joshua Foer published in The New York Times states that one study found that men who kiss their wives before leaving for work get into fewer car accidents, have a higher income and live longer than married men who don’t do so.

Fact #17: Table B110 of the 2010 American Community Survey shows that there were 6.8 million unmarried-partner households in 2010. Of this number, 593,000 were same-sex households.

Fact #18: “According to Dr. John Gottman, the best predictor of divorce is when one or both partners show feelings of contempt in the relationship,” says licensed psychologist Rachel Needle, Psy.D.

Fact #19: “Five big reasons that new relationships fail to launch: 1) the new couple may differ in ambition; 2) daters may differ in openness to new experiences; 3) daters may differ in emotional intelligence; 4) daters may differ in sociability; and finally, 5) partners may differ in altruism or agreeableness,” says psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Ph.D., expert social scientist and contributor to Psychology Today.

Fact #20: Research from the University in Vienna reported in the UK’s Daily Mail shows that hugging someone you love releases the feel-good chemical oxytocin. It also lowers blood pressure, reduces stress and anxiety, and can help improve memory.

Laura Schaefer is the author of Why We Fall Out of Love and Ultimate Money-Saving Hacks for College Students. Follow her on Twitter: @teashopgirl.
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